As we study the appearance of a number in Scripture we can learn the meaning of that number. The number eight is significant for us now as it is the last number in both the Hebrew and Gregorian calendar years (5778 and 2018). The prophets are declaring that this is a year of new beginnings and of the open door. The number eight plays a large part in what they are prophesying. Hebrew, male babies were required to be circumcised when they were eight days old. (Genesis 17:12) On the eighth day of their lives, baby cattle and sheep were given as an offering to the Lord. (Exodus 22:30) Priests Aaron and his sons began their ministry and were dedicated to the Lord on the eighth day by bringing sin and burnt offerings to Him. (Leviticus 9:1-2) The Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated for seven days. But the eighth day is holy. "...On the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the Lord by fire..." (Leviticus 23:36)
What are our expectations for the new year? Are we excited about the opportunities that will arise? I hope so! Jonathan Cahn, in his New York Times Best Seller, The Book of Mysteries, puts an interesting spin on the potential for a new year by introducing us to the Hebrew word "shannah." As with many Hebrew words, this word has two meanings. It can mean second, duplicate or repeat. Cahn says, "In the natural realm the year is a repetition of what has already been...the revolving of the earth around the sun...the coming of winter, spring, summer and fall...the rebirth of nature and its dying, the same progression, the same replaying of what already was."
The second meaning of shannah is to change. Cahn writes, "The way of the world is to repeat--but the way of God is the way of newness and change. You can't know God and not be changed by knowing Him. And His will is that the year, the shannah ahead of you, be not a time of repetition, but of change, of new beginnings, of new steps, of breaking out of old ways and the old nature...But you must choose to live in the supernatural and walk in the will and power of Him who makes all things new."
Charles Shamp, founder of Destiny Encounters, sought the Lord for a word for 2018: "What I am about to do for my people has no historical reference...I will visit in a new and fresh way...I will open the windows of heaven and showers of blessings will overtake your homes. This is a year of open opportunities, open doors and open heavens!" Glory of Zion's Chuck Pierce declares, "This will be a year of firsts, new beginnings and kingdom demonstrations...No matter how established you are, there will be new beginnings in your life, ministry and spheres of authority. We, the body of Christ, must manifest who we are and whom we represent." Amen!
The prophet Isaiah encourages us in Chapter 43, verses 18 and 19. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." In the New Testament the apostle Paul describes the life of a Believer in Jesus Christ. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I hope you are as excited about the open doors and opportunities that God will provide for us as I am. He wants to meet us face-to-face to lead us into our Promised Land and destiny. Let's walk in newness of the Spirit, pursue Him wholeheartedly, and press into the new thing He has for us this year.
Joan E. Mathias